The harsh reality is that many marriages end up in divorce and even the friendliest divorces can be stressful. South African Divorce Attorney, Nazli Williams, shares her top 11 divorce preparation tips.
1. Be Certain that You Want a Divorce
Divorce is a big step with life-changing consequences. Make sure that you feel 100 % ready for this new chapter of your life.
TOP TIP: If you have doubts, consider marriage counselling.
2. Protect Your Children
The best interest of the children should remain your top priority. Make sure that you spend quality time with your children. Don’t put your children in the middle of your battle with your wife/husband.
TOP TIP: Follow the 10 Rules of Co-Parenting by Jeannette Lofas, President and Founder of the Stepfamily Foundation.
3. Uncontested or Contested?
Are you and your husband/wife willing to sign divorce papers to regulate the terms of your divorce? If so, we recommend the uncontested, “friendly” divorce process. Complete your online divorce application to start the process.
TOP TIP: Read How to get Divorced in South Africa for clarity about the uncontested divorce process.
4. Get Organized
Compile your starting documents. You will need the following documents:
- Proof of address, Proof of income tax number (example: latest salary slips),
- Copy of your antenuptial contract (if any) and
- Marriage Certificate (If you have lost yours, click here for information on the process to obtaining a new copy).
5. Choose Your Divorce Attorney Wisely
Choose an attorney who specializes in Divorce or Family Law. In a stressful situation, it’s comforting to have an expert on your side.
TOP TIP: Send a quick email to the divorce attorney before you decide to make use of his/her services. If there is no reply within about 2 days, opt for another divorce attorney who understands the value of efficient, fast communication with clients.
6. Mind Your Money
Make a list of your assets, liabilities (debts), monthly income and monthly expenses. To avoid uncomfortable surprises, discuss your attorney’s fees with him/her in advance. Ask your attorney to put the fee agreement in writing.
TOP TIP: If you do not have your own bank account, now would be the time to open one.
7. Be Informed
Ask your divorce attorney to explain what your rights are and what you are entitled to.
TOP TIP: Read the iedivorce blog for up-to-date divorce law information in plain language.
8. Get Emotional Support
Don’t underestimate the importance of a solid support structure consisting of friends, family members, support groups and/or a psychologist. Lean on them for emotional support and guidance.
9. Avoid Impulsive Decisions & Demands
Keep the bigger picture in mind. Don’t rush into unrealistic, impulsive demands and decisions out of anger or sadness, delaying the divorce process unnecessarily.
10. Make Time for Yourself
Divorce can be emotionally draining. A healthy mind and body will put you in a better position to deal with the changed circumstances, heartbreak, anger and sadness of divorce. Don’t neglect your personal wellbeing.
11. Think Ahead
Divorce is an opportunity for change. Don’t dwell on the past. Set goals for the future and thrive.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Nazli Williams (BCom LLB), the director of Patton Williams Attorneys, is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, specializing in Divorce and Family Law matters. Her fields of expertise and interest include Divorce Law, Family Law, Domestic Violence Law and International Divorce Law. Her vision is to demystify Family Law processes, helping good people in plain language and with great technology, to achieve remarkable results.